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50 Best Business ideas for College Towns

Doing Business in College Towns

Do you reside in a university town but you don’t know what business to start? If YES, here are 50 lucrative small business ideas for college towns.

A college town or university town is a community (often a separate town or city, but in some cases a town/city neighborhood or a district) that is dominated by its university population. The university may be large, or the residential population may be small, but college towns in all cases are so dubbed because the presence of the educational institution(s) pervades economic and social life.

Many local residents may be employed by the university, which may be the largest employer in the community, many businesses cater primarily to the university, and the student population may outnumber the local population.

Towns and communities that have universities and other institutions within them usually have students forming a major fraction of their population. And for this reason, businesses that typically cater to students are in huge demand in such places.

If you live in a community that is dominated by university or college students, whether you are a student or not; you can benefit financially from the huge student population by starting a business that caters to students. Below are fifty good examples of business ideas aimed at in a college or university town:

Lucrative Business ideas for College Towns

  1. Laundry and Dry Cleaning

Laundry and Drycleaning Business

Students, like any other set of people, love to look good. But their tight school schedules usually does not give them enough free time to do their laundry, so they mostly to have this done for them. If you have no problems with getting your hands wet, then you should consider starting a laundry business. Fortunately, this business requires no technical knowledge or huge capital.

  1. Restaurant

Just as they usually don’t have time to do their laundry, students hardly have the time to cook their food. This explains why they turn to restaurants and fast food joints to fill their bellies whenever the need arises. And their need to eat every day leaves huge profit opportunities for restaurants and fast food joints.

If you have great culinary skills, then you should consider venturing into the restaurant business. Even if yours is not a student-dominated environment, this business thrives everywhere.

  1. Student Friendly Centre

Starting a desktop publishing centers in student-dominated environment make a lot of money by helping students format, print, edit, and design their assignments, reports, project works, and so on. In addition, students pay to have their tuition receipts and other vital documents printed from their school website whenever necessary. If you have a solid background in desktop publishing, then this business is for you.

  1. Stationeries Store

It goes without saying that stationeries sell well in school campuses and environments dominated by students. And the reason is obvious—students always need pens, pencils, rulers, and other stationery items. If you live in a student environment and would like to start a business that requires very little startup capital, then you may consider selling stationeries.

  1. Sports Centre and Bar

Students—mostly the males—have great enthusiasm for sports. You will see them flooding sports bars on weekends as well as weekdays on which high-profile sporting events are to be televised. If your blood boils with envy whenever you sight this, then chances exist that you are interested in the business. And if you have what it takes to take a plunge (money, time, interest, business sense, and other things), do so.

  1. Photocopy Business

If you have ever been in a student-dominated environment before, you would have been awed at the rates at which students flood photocopy centers.

Virtually every day, the average student needs to make copies of pages of a textbook, a class note, an assignment, a document, or some other important piece. This explains why the demand for photocopying services is always huge in school campuses and environs.

  1. Clothing and Boutique Business

College and university students have a strong fashion sense. The average student wants to dress to impress and could go to any length to achieve that—even if it requires frequent visits to the boutique. To entrepreneurs, this only means one thing: business opportunity for anyone interested in a boutique business.

  1. Cyber Café

Whether there is reliable internet connection in a student-dominated community or not, the demand for internet services among students will always be on the high side.

So, in an area with poor internet connection, starting a high-speed internet cyber cafe is a good business opportunity, as it fills a pressing need among students in that community, who will need to browse the web to pay their tuition online, research answers to assignments, and so on.

  1. Book Selling

What else do students do other than read books? So, the reason is obvious why textbooks and notebooks sell well in environments dominated by college and university students. If you want to start a very profitable business that caters to students, then you should consider opening a bookstore.

  1. Supermarkets

Just as is the case in other environments, a Supermarket will be a very profitable venture in a student-dominated environment. This is because supermarkets sell a wide range of goods that are needed on a daily basis, such as snacks, personal care products, beverages, processed foods, cosmetics, and so on.

If you are living in a student-dominated environment and looking to start a business, then you may consider opening a supermarket. However, you can start small if you are on a little budget; your business will expand with time.

  1. Laptop Repairing and Maintenance

For many people, a computer problem that could be a simple fix winds up being a drawn out warranty nightmare. Every college student these days own laptops, and they always need someone to help repair or troubleshoot when the need arises.

While we may know how to breeze our way through apps, many of us are not as comfortable with the hardware that powers our machines. Computer repair is a great low cost business startup, especially if you offer mobile computer repair.

Getting started is as simple as building up a reputation for being the “go to” computer handyman. Get the word out to students and student friendly centers about what you’re doing and you’ll be off to a great start.

  1. Hair Dressing and Hair Products Retailing

It is observed that female students spend more on shopping when compared to their male counterparts on campus. This is why any business that is geared towards ladies is known to thrive.

If you are looking for a business to start on campus town, a business that is easy to start and manage, then you should consider retailing hair extensions and a wide range of hair care products. It is a thriving business and profitable business that any individual can venture into. You can move from one hostel to another to market your products to ladies in your campus.

  1. Perfume and Cologne Sales

Retailing of perfumes from different designers is yet another profitable retailing business venture that a college student can successfully be considered in a college town. This type of business is simple to start and it is also easy to manage.

What you need to do is to ensure that you have perfumes from different perfume designers and then move from hostel to hostel to market the perfumes to students. Everyone want to look and smell good, most especially students, this is one of the reasons why you have got to adopt a great marketing strategy in other to get a whole lot of people to buy stuff from you.

  1. Sales of Jewelries and Fashion Products

If you have cash and are looking for a viable retail business to start on campus as a college town resident, then you should look towards retailing Jewelries and Accessories. Students can comfortably buy necklaces, rings, earrings, bangles et al. It is indeed a viable and profitable business.

As an entrepreneur, you can successfully combine this business with other form of businesses in a college town. Truth remains that women never get tired of accessorizing their styles when they dress up. This is one of the reasons why delving into the trade might be your very best bet.

  1. Beddings and Pillow Sales

As an entrepreneur in a college town who is looking towards making extra money on campus you should consider retailing bed sheets, duvets and pillows et al to students. It is a thriving and profitable retailing business that any passionate individual can conveniently carry out and make a living out of. You can easily visit various hostels within the college to market your bed sheets, duvets and pillows et al.

  1. Shoes, Belts, Sandals and Slippers Retailing

Another profitable and highly thriving business that can be ventured into in a college town or wants to horn his or her entrepreneurial skills should consider starting is to start retailing male and female shoes, sandals, slippers, and belts et al.

It is a simple business that needs just the ability to combine one plus one. Just like any other retailing business in a college town, you don’t need necessarily need to rent a shop; all you need to do is to move from one hostel to another to market your wares or run your market from your home.

  1. Baking Cakes and Snacks

Baking and selling cakes is yet another easy to start food retailing business that thrives successfully in a university town. If you know how to bake cake, then you should consider starting a business that deals in cake. Aside from the fact that you can retail your cakes yourself, you can also source for student’s celebrating birthdays and special anniversaries to market your cake.

There is indeed a large market for cakes and if you are hardworking you can reap a fortune from this type of business in any environment. Once you are able to get a hang of selling quality cakes, you can be sure of attracting lots of people to your business per timer.

  1. Barbing Salon

Barbershop Business

Another business that is highly thriving and profitable in a college town is a barbing saloon. If you are good at offering a nice haircut, and you know you have time to spare in the evenings and the weekends, then you should consider opening a mini barbing salon in your college town and you will see male students flooding your salon through your products which they see on their fellow students.

  1. Beauty Salon

Despite their tight schedules, female students cannot do without touching their hairs in order to look good, this create a need that can provide if you live in a college town and possess the skills of doing magic with hair. Beauty salons are highly thriving and profitable business that a can be started in your college town. Just like barbing saloon business, this type of business can be demanding and time consuming.

  1. Grocery Sales

A Grocery Store is yet another easy business that can successfully rake in profit in a university town. If you are looking for an ideal retailing business to start – a mom and pop style of business that requires low start – up capital to set – up, then you should consider opening a grocery store in an ideal location within your campus community.

Students don’t totally rely on junks to live by but also buy groceries. This type of business is simple to set up and it is indeed a profitable business. You might not make huge profits from this type of business, but you are sure of maintaining steady cash flow on a daily basis.

  1. Music and Video Sales

Retailing of music and movies is yet another highly thriving and profitable business that you can try out in a college town. There is indeed a large market for music and movies and this market cut across people of different faith, race and culture.

The united states of America has the largest entertainment industry in the world and products from this industry are basically retailed.

If you live in a college town and you are considering starting a business off campus, then one of the businesses that you can successfully start is retailing of music and movies. In other to stay competitive in this industry, you must be involved in retailing music and movies in all formats; that is in softcopies (downloads) and hardcopies (CDs and DVDs et al).

  1. Start a Book Club

Starting a book club is yet another easy to start business in the education industry you can start in a university town. Book clubs is basically all about a group of people coming together to discuss a book or books that they have read or the books they are currently reading.

It is cheaper to start and to run a book club, but you have to be creative if you want to make money out of your book club. Aside from the membership fee you will collect from people who want to join your book club, you would have to design strategies on how to generate income from members of your book club and from other related areas.

  1. Editing and ProofReading Services

Editing and proofreading is yet another easy to start business in the education industry that thrives in a college town. Many student needs a professional to help them proofread their long essays; it requires little or no start – up capital to launch this type of business.

The nature of this type of business makes it easier to work from home and for clients who are thousands of kilometers away from your country.

If you are a good editor and you have eyes for detail. You consider visiting freelancing marketplaces like,, et al to enroll and become a member. From such platforms, you can get enough editing and proofreading jobs that you can handle.

  1. Ice Block Making and Sales

Many stores on campus need ice to make their drinks cold and attractive to students. If you dwell in a university town, you can successfully start Ice block business. Ice Block making and sale business is one of the retailing businesses that is easy to start and manage; it is a business that won’t take your time.

With effective ice block making machine, all you need to do is to employ a sales girl or sales boy and they will help you handle the business.

So if you are looking towards starting a retailing business that won’t take most of your time; a business that will allow you to run other ventures in your college town, then you should look towards going into ice block making and sales business.

  1. Repair Mobile Devices

Almost every student has a tablet or Smartphone these days but getting it repaired is impossible and costly. This gap can be filled by you in a student environment and you will have a smiling pocket. If you have the skill and knowledge to do this, it is a great business opportunity.

These days, it seems as though everybody has a tablet, but have you ever tried to get one fixed? It’s not as easy as you think. In fact, research revealed that it costs almost as much to repair a tablet as it does to buy a new one.

  1. Knitting and Alteration Services

If you have talent with a needle and thread, you may want to put that talent to work. Your sewing skills can be the key to a number of business opportunities especially in a college town if you live in one, from mending and sewing custom clothes to creating homespun projects and selling them to students.

A good number of people are non-conformist and prefer custom made sweaters, carpets, towels and blankets. The only thing you need is a large loom to do the knitting. The services can be marketed through student fairs or you can sell directly to local college stores.

  1. Customized Clothing Business

The Internet has created opportunities for people who can sew and design custom clothing for special events. Many people have found success creating custom birthday outfits for student groups, for example. This is a profitable business in a college town as you can create customized clothing for students. You can market your ideas to departmental associations or the students’ council.

  1. On-boarding service for International Students

Many students from other countries attend American colleges and universities. For those who have not lived in America for a while or for those who have lived in homogenous neighborhoods until attending college, the college experience may be overwhelming.

If you enjoy meeting new people and are compassionate perhaps you can work with the office of student affairs at your school to create a welcoming service and hospitality program for international students.

  1. Resume Writing

Are you good at finding the best angles to present information? Start a résumé writing service helping students put their experience in the best possible format and phrasing to attract interview and career opportunities.

  1. EBay Merchandising

Place an ad in your college newspaper or a small local newspaper or put out flyers offering to sell people’s valuable but no longer used items on eBay in exchange for a fee. Busy people who don’t have time or don’t want to take the time to do this will jump on it.

You can also sign up for deal sites like Groupon and Living Social and visit local consignment shops to buy tangible items that are way below price then sell them on eBay at a profit. You can even sell some items with a photo and not even have it in inventory yet but make sure you can get your hands on the item when someone buys it, if you decide to do that.

  1. Photography Services and Mobile Photo Studio

Students love to capture beautiful moments in photos and there are chances of making good money if you are a very good photographer. You can also record live campus events on video tapes and sell them for a fee. If you have a great eye for composing scenes and images consider starting a photography and video service.

You can offer headshots to students and faculty and help local businesses near your college produce and post videos online. Have you also considered converting your truck into a mobile photo studio? This is a very lucrative business and a lot of people would really love the idea of being able to take studio photos at any point in time.

  1. Disc Jockeying

DJ Business

Students throw lot of parties and with this in mind, are you always the one spinning the tunes at parties and get together parties? Can you see yourself spending your nights and weekends at weddings, etc.? If yes then maybe you should consider setting up a DJ business in your college town.

Disc jockeys play all types of music geared to their audiences’ preferences, and to accompany special celebrations like weddings, birthdays, award ceremonies, and other social events. You should know the current hits and trends in music. Strive to work and communicate with your clients in providing the best music for their occasions.

  1. Restaurant and Pizza Deliveries

You could also think of starting a pizza delivery business with your truck. You could either choose to make the pizzas yourself or purchase from other pizza outlets on demand. For this business, you would need a dedicated phone line and a website for people to place their orders. You should also figure out how you would take payments for your services.

  1. Ice Cream Trucking

Ice Cream Truck Business

I’m sure we all have seen and been to an ice cream truck before. Some basic ones will serve prepackaged ice cream while more state of the art trucks boast many flavors and soft serve ice cream. Businesses that have a tradition of thriving in any economy are ones that offer a low-priced product or service that is seen as a “mini-indulgence”.

Something like a cappuccino, a manicure or ice cream/frozen yogurt falls into this category. Ice cream trucks have been around a long time and still offer the added convenience of “delivery” to customers.

  1. Students Award Program

Everyone is looking for a way to get ahead in today’s competitive job market. Team up with student affairs or the Student Government Association to start an on-campus student awards program where students are rated and awarded in certain categories that are relevant to future career success.

Charge an entry fee and look for sponsors. This is a cool way for students to get accolades they can add to the list of credentials that can be presented to possible employers.

  1. Website and App Designing

Some professors are amazing; some are more boring than paint drying on a wall. Your college mates might want to know that and maybe you can start a website or Smartphone app to allow group rating and comments so everyone will know what they’re getting into before they register for a class.

  1. Group Travel Services

Do you like traveling and have a knack for planning? Put together student travel packages for Spring Break, study abroad and other purposes for which students might want to travel. This is a very good business to start, especially if you have all the information that you need. If you think you will love to start this adventurous kind of business then you can carry out a good research on it.

  1. Transportation Services

If you go to a rural or suburban school where students need transportation to do simple things and you have a car, start a transportation service. This is a very competitive business, but you can launch in by keeping your fees at a very modest level.

  1. Personal Training

Are you athletic and into sports? Think about starting a personal training service either at the on-campus facility or a local fitness facility. Personal trainers don’t have to work in gyms. They can visit clients in their homes or even work outdoors in parks.

Find out how to start your own personal training business quickly with the instructions in this book. Get sample forms, checklists and contracts, with insider advice from the field. Avoid common mistakes and start generating business faster.

  1. Design Services for Presentations and Seminars

If you enjoy graphic arts and presentation design and you’re good at it, think about offering these services to students (and perhaps, professors) who want to spiff up their research and reports. You can also make additional income by designing banners for events and occasions in your college and by designing creating greeting cards for birthdays and holidays.

  1. Software Training

If you’re proficient in highly specialized software, you can get paid to pass your knowledge on to amateurs and professionals looking to expand their skill sets. Technical manuals are available for programs like QuickBooks and Final Cut Pro, but these are often expensive and difficult for the average user to get through.

Schedule small group workshops or private sessions, and charge by the hour for a full tutorial of the program. Patience and a great personality are a must.

  1. Daycare Operator

Daycare Business

This business idea is somehow for the female folks as the day care business was originally a preserve of women but the movie Daddy Day Care; starring Eddy Murphy opened the doors to men. If you are a stay at home dad, don’t feel shy trying this out. Just make sure you meet all your state requirements before opening your home to day care.

When you are already taking care of your own wee ones, it makes sense to look for ideas that allow you to take advantage of the way you’re already spending your time. Day care can seem like a natural extension. You can convert one of your garages to a daycare center with the right gadgets, toys, decorations and other necessities. A college environment usually needs a daycare.

  1. Career Counseling Services

If you’re a good communicator think about going to the on campus career center and meeting some of the employers and recruiters who are there.

Learn what they are looking for and then become a career coach and counselor to students who will always need this service as they are not ready to visit their college counseling unit. But market to their parents, as they are the one to dish out the funds.

  1. Blog Training

This is another avenue to make money in a college town; the most important thing is to have blogging knowledge, with this you are good to go. You might not even have a computer system. The training can be run from anywhere with a good internet connection.

  1. Computer Training

Don’t be surprised that some students do not possess any computer skills despite the need for it. Offer to train them on the basic computing skills, or an advanced use of the internet and computer.

  1. Drive Cleansing and Formatting

You can start a business in which you help students to clean their external drives with original anti-virus. Most of the external drives used by students carry lot of viruses since they cannot afford original and premium anti-virus software.

  1. Errands Services

Another lucrative college town business is errand services. If you don’t have the mindset that it is a slave work or whatsoever, then you can venture into this service in your college town. All you need is to open a twitter handle and orders are made online by anyone that needs your services, you can also make use of your Whatsapp account to drive in patronage.

  1. Party Promotion

Most college students love partying. So, you can make decent income if you know how promote parties and get the best deejays and party people to events. You can also organize shows involving celebrity singers and entertainers.

  1. Event Planning

There are series of campus events from student parties to award nights, matriculations and convocations. You can offer your services and help in planning such events and get paid for it.

Although starting up might be challenging as you will need to be able to convince sponsors that you can handle the job perfectly. You can offer to do the first few jobs for free and start charging when you have proven yourself to be an excellent event planner.

  1. Tutoring Services

Chances are you are particularly good in one or two subjects. You’ll make a lot of money by offering to teach students who are having problems with those subjects — most especially if they are very important subjects that students must pass before promotion or graduation.

Education is an expensive project. Students have to pay for or buy a number of things ranging from text books, handouts, excursions, field trips, and research projects, practical and even accommodation. You can tap into any of this gap and make a good living in a college town.

In recent times, the internet has made it possible for people to successfully launch businesses with little or no stress and as a student, you can leverage on the potential of the internet to launch your business. Out of any of the 50 business ideas above, there would be one that you can fit in perfectly and earn a good living.